Not only did Olympiacos Piraeus grab a 91-87 overtime victory against KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in a thriller on Tuesday, but veteran forward Kostas Papanikolaou earned himself the MVP honor with a performance index rating of 31, the best among players on winning teams in Round 17. Papanikolaou finished with 22 points, his career high in 192 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague games. He hit 6 of 7 three-point shots – one of them to force overtime with 3.7 seconds left – and downed 4 of 4 free throws to go with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal. His PIR of 31 was the second-highest in his career, and he became MVP of the Round for the second time after earning his first such honor in 2013. Mike James of AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milano had the highest PIR of this round but his team lost at home, 85-90, to FC Barcelona Lassa. James had 20 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 steals for a PIR of 33. Zach LeDay of Olympiacos also had a solid performance against Baskonia, coming off the bench to contribute 23 points on 10-of-13 two-point shooting, 9 rebounds, a steal and a block for a PIR of 30. Nick Calathes of Panathinaikos OPAP Athens came next with a PIR of 29 as he had 14 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds and 3 steals in a 77-67 home win against FC Bayern Munich. Norris Cole of Buducnost VOLI Podgorica, Thomas Heurtel of Barcelona and Vladimir Micov of Milan, each with a PIR of 27, completed the top individual performances in Round 17.
Individual highs: Jan Vesely, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, 5 steals
Cole led all scorers in Round 17 with 25 points against his former team, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv. James is the season’s overall scoring leader at 19.3 points per game. Vincent Poirier of Baskonia led all Round 17 rebounders by pulling down 12. Nikola Milutinov of Olympiacos is the competition’s best rebounder at 8.4 per night. Calathes was the only player to record double-digit assists in Round 17, dishing 11 against Bayern. He also leads the overall standings at 8.2 per game.
Vesely had a career-high 5 steals against Khimki Moscow Region. Vesely is now second in the steals table (1.69 spg.), right behind Calathes (1.71 spg.). Papanikolaou, Goga Bitadze of Buducnost, Derrick Williams of Bayern, Emircan Kosut of Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul, Edy Tavares of Real Madrid and Brock Motum of Zalgiris Kaunas each had 2 blocks in this round. Tavares ranks first overall with 1.9 rejections per game. Calathes, Poirier (17 points, 12 rebounds), and his Baskonia teammate Johannes Voigtmann (10 points, 10 rebounds) were the only players who recorded double-doubles in Round 17.
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